Yoshihide Suga has been elected Japan’s new Prime Minister following a vote in the country’s Parliament on Wednesday, confirming the man from humble beginnings as leader of the world’s third largest economy.
The 71-year-old head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) replaces outgoing leader Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, who resigned in August due to health problems related to colitis — a non-curable inflammatory bowel disease that he was able to manage for most of his tenure.
Suga was elected LDP leader on Monday with about 70% of the votes, but still needed backing from the country’s national legislature, the Diet, before he could officially become Prime Minister.
The new Prime Minister’s next step will be to announce his cabinet line up, which is expected to include a large number of former Abe appointees, before being sworn in by Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon.
The appointment of Suga as Abe’s replacement comes without any shocks. Suga was the former Japanese leader’s right-hand man during Abe’s almost eight years in office throughout his second term, holding the important position of chief cabinet secretary in his government — a combination of chief of staff and press secretary.
Suga is known as a successful political operator, who can get things done, and worked hand-in-hand with the former leader to implement “Abenomics” — a series of economic policies designed to boost Japan’s flagging economy.
Suga in the election, claimed total of 377 votes bettering ones received by contenders like Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida; 89 votes, Former Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba received 68.
Suga in his victory speech expressed delight over the victory and said he will serve well the people as well as devote commitment to the work.
According to him, “his administration will do everything possible and take the fight to the coronavirus; and in the process revamp better the Japanese economy affected much by outbreak of the virus.
The politician who also is the Chief Cabinet Secretary to Abe’s government received tremendous support from other party members much early into his campaign.
Abe on congratulating the to be Prime Minister, said he is handing over baton of leadership to Suga, adding that he can now be relied on.